What will the New Reciprocity Law do to State Concealed Carry Regulations?
December 5, 2018
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In a nutshell? This new act means that the hundreds of people who unknowingly broke the law won’t be arrested and charged anymore. When the House of Representatives passed the bill known as the Concealed Carry Reciprocity Act, and that bill becomes legislation every state will have to recognize the concealed-carry gun permit issued by another state.
So the housewife that innocently carried her concealed carry across a state line and was arrested won’t have this happen to her again.
The bill is well named. Reciprocity refers to the practice of exchanging things with others for mutual benefit. This means especially privileges granted by one state, or country, or organization to another one.
So, in this case, reciprocity means that a person with a valid concealed-carry gun permit in any state may travel to any other state with the concealed carry weapon to which this permit applies and they will not have to worry about being arrested or fined for carrying that concealed carry weapon. With the Reciprocity Act in place every state is compelled to reciprocate the approval of another state’s permit.
Now, here’s where the Reciprocity Act gets a little confusing. The act doesn’t affect a state’s laws about concealed carrying. Yes, you read that right. If a state has restrictive concealed carry permitting procedures then those are still in effect.
The state must accept the concealed carry permit of any other state BUT their rules still apply. Here’s an example: New York is one of those states with rigorous standards for anyone who applies for a concealed-carry gun permit. Getting a NY concealed carry permit entails lots of paperwork. This is followed by months of waiting. The process has detailed inquiries into applicant’s history and personal information.
The Reciprocity Bill when it becomes legislation will not require New York to change its existing concealed carry permit laws. New York residents will likely still have these restrictive standards for anyone seeking, within the state of New York, a permit for a concealed-carry handgun.
New York is not the only state with restrictive concealed carry permit laws. Others include: New Jersey, Maryland, Delaware, Massachusetts, Rhode Island and Connecticut. The other states have varying degrees of less restrictive permit laws.
Lawyers who have defended clients arrested when they went from one state to another that had different concealed carry permit laws hope that this law will force authorities in those states like New York with restrictive concealed carry permit law to rethink criminal prosecution of gun owners who have made honest mistakes regarding their concealed carry weapons simply because they did not know rules varied from one state to another.
The Reciprocity Bill has been hailed by its many supporters as a common sense piece of legislation. It has been a thirty-year priority for the National Rifle Association.
However critics raise red flags. They insist that lawmakers are pandering to the NRA. The latest polls show that the majority of Americans support stricter gun laws fueled by the mass shootings in Las Vegas and California. They cite deadly mass shootings as a harbinger of more of the same.